July 14, 2021
Most of the good things I have discovered in terms of art skills happened when I was trying to do the opposite. For example, way back in my New Times days, I was hell bent on filling in a silhouette and then stopped at the last minute and let the remaining top part of the original illustration stay as is. This was the opposite of what I intended. (I'll post it tomorrow.) A happy accident is what it was.
I've had a few. I think it has something to do with the battery effect. Here is how Adam "Flippin'" Gopnik puts it:
"The truth of the battery is, for Proust, the truth of humankind: it must have two poles or it can carry no charge."
—Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, on "Peripheral Proust"
The Positive Charge
I have realized this is true of almost everything. Billy the Kid is remembered because he was an all-American boy and a cold-blooded killer. Those are two, mutually exclusive and opposite traits (think poles of a battery) that literally creates a spark, or a charge when combined. The same is true of artwork. If it is too "technically perfect" it has a tendency to look dead. Photo realists are perceived by many as hacks and craftsmen, not artists. Put another way, "No technical perfection or elegance can produce a work of art," is how the artist and teacher John Graham put it way back when. And, by the way, he hated contour drawing and thought chiaroscuro ruined painting for five hundred years!
But if there is a combo of looseness and technical proficiency, sometimes it creates a charge.
Daily Whip Outs:
"Vague & Specific Side by Side"
Like I said, for me, at least, this is as loose as a goose. The bigger question is, does it add up to anything? Perhaps not, but who cares. I'm having fun with it.
Finished another sketchbook (#29) two days ago and this morning I culled out all the things I thought were worth reflecting on.
("Sweetheart of Rodeo Alarmed at Size of Neighbor's Wagon Tongue")